Nation of Idiots
When my brother and I are playing video games, we often give my nephew—a toddler—an unplugged controller. We encourage him to believe he’s actually playing the game, congratulating him on playing well and cheering when he completes each level. He probably senses that his character’s not quite doing what he wants him to do, but it’s easiest to dismiss those concerns and play along. After all, he’s playing as well as his adult mentors. Our scheme will probably continue to work as long as he feels like he’s winning.
A toddler can be forgiven for this naivety. But what about the hundreds of millions of Americans who line up at the polls every other year to fall for this same scam being perpetrated on a sweeping national scale? Unlike the noble lie perpetrated by me and my brother, this lie is anything but noble. In every election, the people try to vote for smaller government, fewer imperial wars, secure borders, and safe jobs. Yet, the controllers deliver up more government, more wars, more open borders, and more free trade agreements no matter which buttons we press.
For decades, we Americans have absentmindedly played along because it seemed like we were winning. However, the unraveling credit bubble and the unmistakable impression that America is becoming “the sick man of the globe” is leaving many of us feeling less like we’re winning, and more like we’re this idiot in the middle…
We’ve become a nation of idiots. Alain de Benoist, a leading luminary of Europe’s New Right, confirms the worst in his recently translated book, The Problem of Democracy…
The notions of citizenship, liberty, and equality of political rights, as well as popular sovereignty, were closely interrelated. The most essential feature of citizenship was one’s origin and heritage: Pericles was the ‘son of Xanthippus from the deme of Cholargus’. From 451 BCE, one had to be born of an Athenian mother and father in order to become a citizen. Defined by his belonging, the citizen (polites) was opposed to the idiotes, or non-citizen—a designation that quickly took on a pejorative meaning (from the notion of the isolated individual with no belonging came the idea of the ‘idiot’). Citizenship as a function thus derived from the notion of citizenship a status which was the exclusive prerogative of birth. To be a citizen meant, in the fullest sense of the word, to belong to a homeland – that is, to a homeland and a past.
We’re regressing from true citizens with a common heritage into isolated individuals . . . idiots. We no longer have the power or the will to direct this government, a government which no longer belongs to us in any meaningful way. While many of America’s founding fathers were known for churning out universalist platitudes, the founding documents and the Republic they instantiated reflected the united spirit and will of a common people. John Jay explained it best in Federalist Paper No. 2 . . .
Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people, a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs, and who, by their joint counsels, arms and efforts, fighting side by side throughout a long and bloody war, have nobly established liberty and independence.
In addition to John Jay, Louis March’s Immigration and the End of Self-Government quotes Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, George Washington, James Madison, Theodore Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Calvin Coolidge, all corroborating the same basic vision of American identity. Abraham Lincoln, a racialist and ethnic nationalist by any standard, is conspicuously (though unsurprisingly) absent from this Southern gentleman’s comprehensive list. Whether they were Federalists or Anti-Federalists, Yankees or Confederates, Democrats or Republicans, Americans shared an essentially Athenian conception of citizenship.
March contrasts this with Jewish neoconservative Nathan Glazer’s contention that, “The United States is unique among the great nations of the world in the degree to which it refuses to define itself in ethnic or religious or national terms, as our basic founding documents make clear.” A nation that refuses to define itself in national terms is a nation of idiots (to rely on the more common definition). Not that there’s much of an American nation left…perhaps more of a global circus of “propositional” Americans propositioning one another.
For the past several decades, most Americans have eagerly parroted the multicultural platitudes on command but have implicitly identified with the traditional American ethnicity. This unexamined contradiction is increasingly strained by the demographic, political, cultural, and economic ramifications of having designed our nation’s policies on those idiotic platitudes. The cognitive dissonance is reaching an inflection point, with more and more of us terrified on an instinctive level by our displacement, yet lacking the vocabulary to give voice to that fear. We’re repelled by the progressive’s “progress” yet remain indoctrinated in the progressive’s ideological frame. More and more Americans perceive themselves as “standing athwart history, yelling ‘Stop!‘”
This growing unease with the status quo is an opportunity for us to sell Americans on a completely different type of progress, a radical alternative to idiocy. Unlike our opponents, who’ve been reduced to “waiting for Superman” to save them from their own mess, we can credibly offer a future worth looking forward to. Do you want better education? Remove diversity from the equation and our schools are among the world’s best. Do you want to balance the budget? With a cessation of our imperial military adventures and gutting of the monolithic bureaucracies dedicated to social engineering, we can do that. Do you want better jobs? We can seal off the borders, broker trade agreements that protect America’s strategically critical industrial infrastructure, and put Americans back to work. Do you want less crime? Well, you get the idea . . .
The next few years will be crucial in determining whether Americans can break free of the progressive paradigm and embrace a traditional one, one in which progress is to be fertile instead of sterile, honorable instead of respectable, enriched instead of rich, and equal in the Athenian sense instead of the modern egalitarian sense. Recent developments are encouraging. Both mainstream academics like Robert Putnam and mainstream politicians like Angela Merkel are conceding that the global social engineering experiment in multiculturalism is dead.
We know that we’re not winning and we’ve lost faith in our elites. Sooner or later, my nephew’s going to wise up and demand genuine and complete control of his character and determine his own course. Hopefully, we as a nation will stop being idiots and demand the same for ourselves.